The Sassy Pear

Finding my way through my forties

Very Best Self Experiment – Week 3 — July 23, 2019

Very Best Self Experiment – Week 3

Same song, third verse.

I think got up early one, maaaayyyyybe two days last week, but I had some weird allergy thing happening plus the stress of worrying about my car really took a toll on me and I was TIRED. My husband thought I was dead one morning because he couldn’t wake me up – I’m usually a very light sleeper but I was sleeping so hard that he had to physically shake me to get me to come around (don’t worry, I didn’t die, I was just super deep in the middle of a really weird dream).

BUT! I think I have cracked the code. Maybe. Next week I’ll hopefully have something new and awesome to report.

Here’s what I’m learning: just because I say I’m going to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. I have to arrange and rearrange my environment and routines in such a way that makes it easier to make the thing happen. Also I’m learning that it might take a few weeks to figure out exactly what arrangement works best for me and that is perfectly okay. The Jill of Years Past would have felt like a total failure and given up on this because I didn’t get it right, but Present Jill knows that changing a habit takes time and effort and tweaking the routine and readjusting this or that to make it do-able. I know that if it isn’t working, I probably need to come at it from a different angle and see what needs to change. So that’s what these last 3 weeks have been about – seeing what works, what doesn’t and bobbing and weaving my way through the obstacles. I’m getting there, I think.

How about you? How are things working for you?

I love that you all chimed in when I pouted about doing this alone last time!! It cracked me up that you all piped up with your experiments – I really was only joking, but thanks for being in this with me! 🙂

How to be awesome, Deux — July 3, 2019

How to be awesome, Deux

The website Sweatpants & Coffee posts some great stuff that resonates with me – I posted part one of 44 Ways to Cultivate Happiness here, and a couple of days ago they came out with the second part of that list which can be found here. I love these articles and found myself nodding my head at several of the ideas listed.

A few of my favorites are:

#28 Find your Fun. This is one that I often have to remind myself to do. It seems odd that I have to plan on having fun, but if I don’t, I end up cranky and out of sorts and it takes several minutes of contemplation to figure out “oh! No wonder I feel so stabby, I haven’t had done anything fun lately!” It doesn’t have to be anything grand either, it can be watching a funny movie on a Friday night at home, or talking to a friend who makes me laugh, or scoring some deals at a thrift store.

#36 Say what you need to say. Nothing is more of a joy-killer than seething resentment. I lived like this for a long time and it was no bueno. There are ways to express your needs that don’t invite conflict – avoiding conflict is one of the reasons I didn’t want to speak up, but peace at any cost is no way to live. Also it’s not good for your health to keep things bottled up.

#37 Rest. In our current culture where Busy is King, we (I) often feel guilty if I’m not doing something productive, but we (I) need downtime. According to the article, being bored leads to creativity and inspiration. For example, my 14 year old  decided yesterday to design a very cool swimming pool complete with swim up snack bar and a hidden cave with a water fall. When I asked her how she came up with this she shrugged and said “I got bored.” Go get bored and see what creative ideas you can come up with.

#38 Take a nap. Why do we not, as a culture, take a nap everyday after lunch? Other countries do this, don’t they? Can you imagine how much better we would all get along if we all had to shut down between 1 and 2:00 every day to take a nap??? One of my very good friends took the 3rd row seats out of her SUV, put in a big fluffy comforter and pillows and every day at lunch she would go out to her car and nap for 55 minutes, then eat lunch at her desk afterward. I always thought this was the most genius thing ever.

dog cute sleeping puppy
Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on


Anything on this second half of the list resonate with you?

Don’t forget, you can still join our Very Best Self Experiment – jump in any time! Maybe something on this list is a habit you could work on for the month of July.

For my US readers, Happy 4th of July tomorrow! And for those of us who have to work on Friday – I feel your pain. Womp Womp. :/

Rolling along — December 16, 2014

Rolling along

Hello Friends!

How’s it going? I’m doing well. I’m about halfway finished with my Christmas shopping – most of the big stuff is bought and now I just have to take care of all the little things – teacher gifts, stocking stuffers, gifts for the mail carrier, etc. Its these little things that usually make me crazy because it feels like they never end. My plan is to take off work Friday and finish it all up – I’d really like to be able to just sit back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season. So, for right now, I’m feeling okay and not so much frazzled. We’ll see what the next week brings. 🙂

In continuing with my habits theme from my last post, I wanted to hit on those habits that I’d like to change once more. I’ve been thinking about what I need to do to and what steps I might need to take to change those habits and here’s what I’ve come up with:

1) Daily workouts. I finally cleared off the treadmill (it is in the garage and had gotten covered up during the Thanksgiving hurry-and-clean-the-house rush), so now I have no excuses not to use it. When I thought about how I wanted to incorporate my treadmill, the thought of making myself get on it for 30 minutes to an hour every day felt laborious and completely unfun (yes unfun is a word – I just declared it to be one. So there.) and who wants unfun in her life? Not me. So I changed my frame of mind to say that I will get on the treadmill for an undetermined amount of time and I’ll write it down after I’m finished. Maybe some days I’ll have ten minutes logged and some days I’ll have 45 minutes – who knows? I won’t feel the same way every single day so why would I be so rigid with my “rules”? If I’m making an effort, at this point that’s all that matters. And since I’m still going to Zumba twice a week, that makes 3 days per week that I will make an effort to get on the treadmill. I’m using baby steps here, people.

2) Eliminate grazing after work. I’m happy to say that I am getting so much better in this area, but yeah, I still have my hiccups. It just occurred to me today that maybe I need to reframe my phrasing of this habit. I have a reminder on my phone that comes every day as I’m driving home from work and it says NO GRAZING AFTER WORK!!. So guess what I’m thinking when I walk in the door? “No grazing after work, Jill! No GRAZING!!” Guess what happens when you tell yourself not to do something? You think about doing it! So I have changed the wording of that reminder to say “Find something productive or relaxing to do until dinner time!” This gives me permission to relax if I need to for a little while before fixing dinner or it reminds me that there is always a load of laundry begging for my attention – either way it keeps me out of the kitchen unnecessarily. The previous phrasing helped in the beginning, but I think I’m ready to go beyond what not to do.

3) Eliminate Emotional Eating Behaviors. I am actively working on this right now. You know what helps? Staying plugged in to the thoughts that keep me from eating my feelings. Daily reading of books, listening to podcasts, and going over notes I’ve made really helps me to stay focused on what I want and keeps me in check when I see unwanted behaviors emerge. Reminding myself every day of what I’ve learned is crucial because apparently I have a very short memory – if I go a few days without reading my materials then I start to slip back into old behaviors, so I have to be active in keeping all of this front and center in my brain. In talking with my favorite dietitian Amanda, we’ve both sort of determined that for me, it’s really not about the food. I can try to control the food all I want, but if I’m not dealing with my emotions (good or bad) then nothing will ever get solved and I’ll just be spinning my wheels forever. What I’m finding though, is that the more I lessen my grasp on that control, the easier it becomes to say no to the food my body doesn’t need or want. My desire is to one day have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards food; to see a plate of cookies and think “yeah those look really good and maybe I’ll have one in a little bit” instead of feeling the compulsion to have 2 or 3 every time I walk through the kitchen or feeling like I’m a failure at life because I ate a cookie at all.

In related news, it dawned on me that the reason I want to cry all the time now is because I’m not stuffing my feelings down with food as much lately. I can pretty much cry on demand now, which is pretty awesome because for a long time I couldn’t cry at all – and that sucks when you really need to just let it all out in a big dramatic gush of tears. So even though crying can be inconvenient at times, I just roll with it and let it happen. Sometimes a few tears are all I need and other times a gush is the only cure – either way, I’m good with it. I have to admit: all this learning and feeling and seeing the change happen is a very cool thing!

4) Finding things that I enjoy doing. Wow, this one is harder than I thought it would be. Ideally, I’d like to find something dual purpose – something fun that will also keep my body healthy. I haven’t really had time to actually try out different things – maybe when Christmas is over I’ll be able to dig in and search more thoroughly. Maybe I’ll also have the money to try some group exercise classes or even take a class at the local votech. I think I’ll defer this until after Christmas when I can really look seriously at what I want to do.

So that’s about it for now. Things are just kinda rolling along for me and I think I’m in a pretty good groove. I know I’ll continue to have bumps in the road but I’m learning that that’s just part of it. Slipping up is not a character flaw, it’s just part of establishing new habits and eventually my slip ups will be fewer and fewer. I just have to keep moving forward.

Habits habits everywhere — December 3, 2014

Habits habits everywhere

I had a mystery on my hands the last few days: ever since Thanksgiving, I could not stop eating and I had no idea why. I mean, sure there were delicious leftovers, but once those were gone I still had the incredible urge to EAT ALL THE THINGS EVERYWHERE and it was really bugging me. My brain felt different, I was sliding back into behaviors that only days ago weren’t a big problem, and I just really wanted all the sugar and all the carbs the world had to offer and I wanted them in my face NOW.

And then this morning, something shifted. As I was eating my oatmeal, I actually said to myself “I feel better now…I feel like I’ve turned a corner and feel like eating well again…I wonder what that’s all about?” and then not ten minutes later, I’m not even kidding you, I felt that old familiar stab in my lower abdomen and then the light bulb went on over my head. “Oh…it’s THAT time of the month! No wonder I’ve felt like I couldn’t get enough food!!” I had totally forgotten that it was time for my cycle to begin – I just thought that I was seriously backsliding away from all the good habits I’ve cultivated throughout the last year. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know I’m back in my right mind now. 🙂

Then a friend of mine posted this article on FB and I thought it was a timely read. I do feel like my ultimate success will come down to whether or not I can let go of old habits and embrace new ones. I’m also working on some emotional eating concepts, but I believe that those things are tied in with habits as well. The subject of habits is really interesting to me – it just clicks with me regarding my weight loss (or lack thereof). I have to cultivate the habits that will lead to weight loss – I think I always sort of believed that once I lost weight it would be easier to have healthy habits, which when I type that out makes no sense whatsoever, but sometimes the brain just believes what it believes. As I said in my last post, sometimes my brain is a weird and confusing place.

One thing I know is key when changing habits is having patience. Losing weight at approximately one pound per month over the last 11 months has taught me loads about patience! Only in the last couple of months have I learned to be okay with the fact that it might take me 2 or 3 years to reach my goal weight – of course I wish it would go faster, and if I continue to work on changing some more habits, it probably will, but for now I realize that if I keep doing what I’m doing, I WILL lose weight, but it will be slow. And I’m okay with that.

Here’s a list of some of the habits I’ve adopted that seem to be coming pretty easy to me lately:

  • Having dinner early in the evening. I like getting dinner over and done with before 6:30 so I can have the rest of the evening to digest.
  • Going to Zumba twice a week. Zumba for me is less about working out and more about doing something I enjoy. I’ve found a class where the instructor and other participants are welcoming and a lot of fun. It’s a small class and I really enjoy it. Around here, I could find a Zumba class for every day of the week, but I think I’d get burned out if I went more than 2 or 3 times a week. So for now, twice a week is perfect.
  • My weekly calls with Amanda from Selvera. Knowing I’ll be talking with her keeps me accountable, even when I want to eat all the food in the world. I have no doubt that I’d be well over 200 pounds if I wasn’t working with her.
  •  Getting up 15 – 30 minutes earlier in the mornings. I got so tired of rushing around every morning trying to get myself and my family out the door for school and work that I decided to get up a few minutes earlier to give myself some breathing room. It just makes my day go so much more smoothly when I have time to actually drink my coffee instead of letting getting lukewarm on the kitchen counter. I’m really pleased with myself for developing this habit.
  • Getting plenty of sleep. I’ve been getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night and  I LOVE IT SO SO MUCH.
  • Blogging more often. It really does help when I come here and unload or share thoughts or just ramble incoherently for a little while. It’s such a release. 🙂

Some of things I’d like to work on cultivating in the next year are:

  • Daily workouts. I would really like to find something that I enjoy as much as Zumba for the days when I don’t go to Zumba. Right now I can’t think of anything that I would like to do for an hour that would also work up a sweat. The thought of getting on the treadmill in my cold dark garage is about as appealing as a root canal and I don’t want to mess up my sleeping mojo by having to get up at 4:30 am to do an hour long DVD. I’m beginning to think that I might be a social exerciser, meaning that group classes might be the way to go, but I still don’t know what I would like to do.
  • Eliminate grazing after work. This is my Achilles Heel. For as long as I can remember, as soon as I came home from school (or later on in my life, work) I would head to the kitchen and grab a snack or six. Eating was a way to unwind or celebrate being home. I could easily polish off 1,000 calories and then STILL eat dinner two hours later. This habit wasn’t a problem for me for a long time because I was so active throughout the day, but when I got this desk job and became sedentary…it caught up to me in a big way (pun fully intended). I am working on this habit now and have come a long way with it, but I still need to keep working on it.
  • Eliminate emotional eating behaviors. I eat mostly in response to emotional cues. Bored? Let’s eat. Sad? Let’s eat. Happy? Let’s eat. If there’s an emotion, there’s an appropriate food to match. This is another deeply ingrained habit that I learned at a young age, so it’s going to take some time and effort to replace it.
  • Finding things that I enjoy doing. If you asked me what my interests are, I would say Zumba and reading, and that’s about it. I don’t really have a hobby that I get excited about. I like getting together with friends, but sometimes it’s hard to coordinate schedules. Maybe I should find a book club? I don’t know, but this is one of those things I need to actively work on in the next year because enjoying my life will ultimately lead to my leaning less on food for entertainment.

So there you have it…I’m working on shifting some beliefs and actions so that I can live a healthier, happier life. Do you have any habits that you have changed or are in the process of changing? I’d love to hear all about it – you can comment below or you can email me at if you don’t want share them here. 🙂

I’m Still Standing (You’re welcome for that Elton John earworm) — September 30, 2014

I’m Still Standing (You’re welcome for that Elton John earworm)

Hey Howdy Hey!

It’s been a week and my sit-stand workstation and I are still going strong! I love this thing so much, you don’t even know. It really breaks up the monotony of the day and I actually find it easier to do my actual work while standing. Who knew?!

As some of you suggested, I’ve been alternating sitting with standing usually every hour but sometimes even every half hour. I got a cushioned mat to stand on AND I bought the cutest pair of Sketchers with memory foam in them and WOW what a difference that makes!

My boss just can’t understand why I would want something like this. He said “that just does not look comfortable to me at all!!” and then he said “I just don’t want to stand that much”. Hmmm…and why are you over 300 pounds with high blood pressure and high cholesterol and taking heart medication again? Oh yeah, THAT’S WHY. I have a whole ‘nother post about my boss forming in my head but I’ll save that for a later date.

As far as my weight goes, I was helped along in my efforts by an ugly stomach bug that hit me Thursday night. All three of my kids have had it too, only my husband was spared (not sure how he kept from getting it). I’m sitting at an unofficial weight of 189 today and I’m chasing 188 pretty hard. After the bug, I was down to 186 but I knew my weight would go back up once my appetite came back so I wasn’t putting those eggs in my basket just yet. I’m hoping to stay under 190 though and maybe I can hit a true weigh in of 188 officially in a few days.

Why is 188 so special you may ask? Because it marks a ten pound weight loss for me – right after Christmas last year I weighed in at 198 which is my highest weight ever (both in the pregnant and non-pregnant categories). I started working with Selvera right after that and my official Selvera weigh in is 197 (197.7 maybe?). If you had told me then that it would take me a year to lose ten pounds, I would have said “pass the Cheetos because why bother?” but in working with my coach Amanda (my goodness that woman deserves a medal for sticking with me!!!) I have realized that my biggest obstacles are my habits. I know how to eat healthy (most days), I know how to exercise (sorta), but what I didn’t know how to do was break some very deeply ingrained bad habits. Anyone who says it takes 21 days to break a habit is full of…beans (as my grandpa would say)!! So over the last 9-ish months I’ve been working with Amanda to not only making healthier choices, but to break bad habits and integrate new, better ones. I’ve come a long way, baby, but I still have a long way to go. Getting to 188 is one small step in the right direction.

Guess that’s all that’s new around here. Have a great day and if you have any questions about my standing work station or about Selvera or my cute new shoes feel free to ask!! I’m more than happy to answer. 🙂

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